Predatory animals are abundant in nature, even your own city probably contains several native populations of predatory animals. Ever since we were in gradeschool, conjuring up a list of animal predators has never been a challenge. Lions, tigers and bears are commonly referred to as being apex predators, and of course, nobody can forget about snakes. No matter the species, all snakes are formidable predators. Snakes are even referenced as personifications of evil in ancient mythologies and religions, notably Christianity. Rattlesnakes are particularly menacing creatures, as their venomous bites have been known to kill humans. It goes without saying that no animal can stand up to a group of rattlesnakes, unless, of course, that animal happens to be a centipede. Although it may come as a shock, rattlesnakes are actually quite leery of certain centipede species. In fact, researchers were surprised recently to find centipede remains within the digestive tracts of pygmy rattlesnakes. The researchers were so surprised that they set up an experiment in order to determine how these snakes go about attacking and eating centipedes without suffering debilitating or deadly consequences.
Pygmy rattlesnakes can be found in the southeastern United States. Despite their less than intimidating name, pygmy rattlesnakes are highly venomous pit vipers that are dangerous to humans. Since these snakes are quite predatory in nature, they are not at all picky about what they eat. For example, mice, birds and even other snakes are often consumed by pygmy rattlesnakes. Although these snakes are fierce, even they stand back when confronted with centipedes. Most animals, even large predators, know better than to approach centipedes, as their many legs, prickly bodies, and sharp fangs spell danger to all animals, even humans. After finding centipede remains within pygmy rattlesnake stomachs, researchers set out to determine how snakes successfully capture and consume centipedes. After placing a rattlesnake and a skink in the same area, the skink was made into lunch. The snake waited to ambush the skink, but the snake behaved differently while in a room with a centipede. When in a room with a centipede, the snake spent a long period of time slithering around the creepy-crawly. After finally landing a bite on the centipede, the snake waited for the venom to take hold. This is a wise move on the snake’s part, as centipedes are relatively resilient to the toxic effects of rattlesnake venom. Most of the time snakes eat their prey immediately upon attack, but this was not the case with the centipede.
Do you think that there exists any venomous centipede species that can attack and kill certain snake species?